Introducing Amped Wireless

The world is full of technology companies, with plenty of long time players as well as smaller newcomers. There are so many facets of the industry to cover that it’s basically impossible to know everyone, so when Amped Wireless sent us an email I must admit that other than having seen a couple of their products on Newegg, I knew essentially nothing about them. Let’s start with a bit of background information, for those of you who might be in a similar state. While I wasn’t particularly familiar with Amped Wireless, it’s worth noting that their products are now available at many retail outlets, as well as the big online sources like Amazon and Newegg. You can find Amped Wireless devices at Staples, Best Buy, Walmart, Fry’s, Office Depot, etc. and they are now working to extend into Canada.

Amped Wireless was created three years ago as a sub-company of Newo Corporation, which was created around five years back by Jason Owen and offered some interesting computer peripherals (e.g. a personal USB fridge to keep your soda cold). Today, the Newo Corp website redirects to Amped Wireless, so it looks like that’s now the primary focus. Mr. Owen serves as the CEO for Amped Wireless, with a background in the wireless networking industry that goes back over a decade; he teamed up with a colleague with a similar background in order to focus on long range WiFi products and “do it correctly”.

Besides setting out to create better long range wireless devices, Amped also wants to make sure that customer service is a high priority; there will be no outsourcing of support to another country, and all customer support is US based and trained in-house. Unlike the support side of the equation, engineering is a different story. Amped Wireless has teamed up with engineering resources in Taiwan (and only Taiwan—they mentioned that controlling quality in some other areas can be very difficult), and they have a small team of around 20 that’s split about 50-50 doing work on the software/firmware and hardware aspects of their products.

Their very first product to hit the market came out about eighteen months ago, the SR150 wireless repeater. There really aren’t many wireless repeaters on the market, and they wanted to target that niche and create something that would be easy to configure for people that don’t know much about wireless networking. The product proved to be a success, helping users to extend their wireless coverage to difficult to reach locations—especially for users of all-in-one cable/DSL modem/router boxes that have very poor wireless range. After the initial product launch, they received a lot of feedback from customers who wanted to simply skip the repeater aspect and go straight to Amped for a wireless router; that led to the launch of their first router back in September 2011.

That brings us to today’s reviews. We have Amped Wireless’ latest and greatest R20000G router, SR20000G repeater, and the UA2000 directional wireless adapter. Like most wireless companies, Amped states that their products work best when used with each other, but we had no difficulties using the router with other adapters, or the UA2000 with various routers. The SR20000G also worked fine in general, with a minor problem encountered with one of our test routers (more on that later). We’ll start with a look at the R20000G router, then check out the SR20000G repeater, and finally look at the UA2000 adapter. Once we’ve covered those areas, we’ll wrap up with some performance investigations using several different products and see how the various devices actual work in practice.

Amped Wireless R20000G Router
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  • Conficio - Sunday, June 24, 2012 - link

    I wonder why Amped Wireless would not combine the repeater and the directional antenna. As Jarred mentioned, for a mobile device a directional antenna is a bit inconvenient, especially if it does easily move.

    However for a repeater it would be ideal. Place your repeater in a quite weak spot and use the power of the directional antenna to still get a good signal. Then broadcast the repeated signal onmi-directional. That should cut down on the interference too. And a repeater is a heavier object to begin with and stationary. Sure if you don't need it, then you won't need it. But if you have a tricky situation, or simply a very large property (lets say a boats house or an artists shed) then this should be a great solution.

    Even better would be to add an additional directional antenna to the main router and the ability to use different channels for the directional link. That could make a point to point link that would cut down on interference even more.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 24, 2012 - link

    I believe Amped does support this, though you'd need to provide the antennas yourself (Amped sells them, though). The only problem is that you'd basically have one antenna directional and pointed at the router with the second omnidirectional, so your total omnidirectional signal strength would likely be limited. Reply
  • Conficio - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    Thanks Jarred for clarifying this.

    In my mind that poses one more question, is the directional USB stick a 2x2 config? are both antennas directional? Or is it only one antenna?

    But I think you are right, just replacing an antenna with a directional one is not the same as building a real repeter that has a separate notion of (set of) input antenna (directional) and set of output antenna (omnidirectional). Hence there is the opportunity for a company like Amped.

    Another question. Is it possible to use only one band (5GHz) to talk to the router and the other band (2.4 GHz) to redistribute? The same for channels? Which should get down the interference even better.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    AFAIK, the UA2000 has both antennas pointing the same direction. It can also pick up other routers that aren't being pointed at, but range and performance drop considerably.

    As for routing one band to the router and the other for talking to devices, I asked Amped about this, and they said while in theory it's possible to have the repeater send wireless traffic over the other connection (when present), they chose not to do it this way to "keep things simple" or something. If you use a 2.4GHz only router (or disable the 5GHz channel), then 5GHz traffic will get routed over the 2.4GHz radio; likewise, you could disable your router's 2.4GHz channel and have the repeater's 2.4GHz traffic route over 5GHz. That might actually be interesting to test out.
    Reply
  • mike8675309 - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    I actually do that in my home. Using DD-WRT I have a WDS network setup with 3 dual radio routers. Clients connect on the 2.4GHz antennas and the routers talk to each other over the 5GHz antennas.

    PS3, Xbox, Dish DVRs connect with ethernet and get a 5Ghz connection to the internet router, perfect for streaming from Netflix or Dish.

    This eliminates the issue with 1/2 the bandwidth when using the same radio to talk to clients as you use for repeating to the main router, which is what is happening for most repeaters in the market.
    Reply
  • tlcqualityrentals - Tuesday, July 03, 2012 - link

    Lots of great information on this site. If only I could figure out what you guys are talking about. LOL. I had narrowed down my selection to the Amped Wireless R20000g to replace my years 5+ year old Linksys router/modem. The Linksys was fine for my home. I have recently added a cottage and a pavilion to my property. Both are approximately 300 to 400 feet from the Linkysys router. It is imperative that i provide good network coverage in the cottage. My question to you is, how would you solve this issue? What items would you buy?
    Thanks for any suggestions.
    Much appreciated.
    Rhonda
    Reply
  • bman212121 - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    One of the biggest issues when trying to pick a wireless AP for range is dechipering through all of the claimed power ratings. I bought an AP that was listed as having a 400mW power rating. I figured that meant that it was a 200mW radio output and 200mW for the 3dbi antennas on it. That is technically true but the issue with N is that those numbers are also divided by the number of antennas you have. So in reality it was 100mW per amp with 100mW (3dbi gain) for each antenna.

    So in the case of this amped wireless device it would be 125mW (21Db) amps and 5dbi antennas (26dbi EIRP per antenna, making 29dbi total power output) This would make it slightly more powerful than the average home router but for devices where you can replace the antennas you will get more power by having bigger antennas than what is provided on this device.

    Case in point, I was floored when our old Linksys WRT54G actually out ranged my 400mw N access point because it used the same 100mw (20Dbm) output and a 2dbi antenna. I'm guessing it must have had a slightly better method of determining the best path and probably a bit more sensitive receiver. I was already planning on swapping the antennas with 9dbi rubber duckies. Once I did that then my AP was able to travel farther however location seems to be far more important for range than anything you can do on the AP side.
    Reply
  • GullLars - Sunday, July 08, 2012 - link

    "If I had been wise, I would have tabulated all the individual results and come up with a throughput distribution graph (similar to what Brian does with our smartphone Speedtest results), but unfortunately I only considered doing that after the fact. It would also become rather difficult to compare results between routers and adapters using such charts. Still, if there’s enough desire for such testing, I can revisit the subject with a smaller article. Either leave a comment or drop me an email if you’re interested in such testing."

    Yes, when there are very variable results, using result distribution graphs can give very important information averages leave out, like best and worst case, and consistency of performance.

    I'd rather have a wireless connection at average 80Mbps ±10Mbps than average 140Mbps with drops to 40Mbps 10% of the time. Especially if this is also reflected in latency. I'm kinda surprised there were no meassuring of ping, just throughput. Ping and ping spikes are very important for how it feels to use wireless connections.

    For most rewiews of IO devices there is mention of both throughput and latency, why not also do this for wireless?
    Reply

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